Memphis won its second game in a row with an 84-77 victory in a must win game over the Temple Owls Thursday night.
David Jones led the team with 23 points and Jahvon Quinerly followed him with 19. Jonathan Pierre also stepped up off the bench with 10 points.
The Tigers picked up where they left off against Wichita State, jumping out to a comfortable lead. Memphis led at the half 45-27.
The Tigers had a great first half shooting 56% from the floor and 40% from three. They took care of the ball, only having 5 turnovers. Quinerly had 15 first half points along with 3 assists. David Jones had 11 points and Nicholas Jourdain had 8.
Temple did not shoot well in the first half, only scoring 27 points. They shot 33% from the field and shot an abysmal 1/15 from three. They also had 8 turnovers.
Some of these issues were their own fault, but the Tigers also played great defense, scrambling around, getting out to shooters, and playing good help defense.
Out of halftime, Temple cut the lead to 10, but Memphis quickly recovered and got it back up to 16.
That is when the Memphis Tigers began to fall apart like they have done all season. The same issues that plagued them during their 4-game losing streak continued. The Tigers started turning the ball over, playing poor defense, and missing their shots.
Temple cut the lead to just 3 points with 7:27 to play. David Jones promptly took over and scored 8 straight points to create some separation, but Memphis couldn’t get away, as Temple stayed within 8 points for the rest of the game.
Memphis played great defense and kept forcing turnovers, but missed free throws were the biggest problem down the stretch. Memphis only shot 16/31 from the free throw line, a poor 51.6%. Despite this, the Tigers managed to hold on to earn a 7-point win.
Memphis shot 48.3% from the field and 34.5% from three. They also had 11 turnovers. This was a decent offensive performance, but their defense is what won them the game. They held Temple to 25.9% from three and forced 18 turnovers, 15 of them being steals.
The Tigers got some much-needed momentum for their tough stretch of games to end the season, with their next game being against Tulane on Sunday. The game will be on ESPNU at 1 P.M. CT.
Memphis is currently projected in the Next 4 Out of the NCAA Tournament, according to Joe Lunardi of ESPN. The Tigers need to keep winning to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.